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How to Prepare for Group 1 and Where to start!

This is the first stage of the exam and should never be taken lightly. The preparation
should be such that you should not have any doubt about clearing the exam. The prelims
should only be a passing phase. If you prepare well for the mains exam and be clear
about the basics, then prelims should not be problem. The preparation for the prelims
should start from January. The main focus should be on the optional subject first. At the
same time the GS should be done regularly. Since there is well defined syllabus for the
optional, you should prepare thoroughly in all aspects and score as much as possible. On
the other hand, the GS preparation should be good on the basics.

The prelims is a test of recognition. It is sufficient if you can recognise the correct answer
from given choices. So if you are strong in basics this should not be problem. Do not
spend too much time in memorising facts. Its fine if you can recognise it. Prepare some
mnemonics which will help you in recognising the right answer.

Practising previous papers and the tests is very important. It will help you in time
management and also in identifying the weak areas. This practise should be right from the
beginning and not in the final stages.

General Studies:

The GS paper is feared by many at the prelims stage. There is an opinion that very
difficult questions are asked from wide areas. While preparing for the GS paper, the first
efforts should be to analyse the previous years’ papers and then start preparation. Even
while studying, you should keep looking at past questions. This will help in a focused
preparation. In GS, it is equally important to know what not to study.

The score required is around 95-100 out of 150 to clear the prelims. So here it is to be

remembered that you can afford to lose 60 questions. If suppose, you make 75 correct
answers, then out of remaining 75 questions, there is probability of another 20+ being
correct due to good guesses. To get 75 really correct, it is sufficient if you can be strong
in basics. The questions are also given in such a way that 70-80 questions are easy, 50
questions difficult and another 20-30 very difficult which none can answer. Many aspirants
orient their preparation keeping in view those 30 very difficult questions. This can be
counter productive since it is not possible to master all areas in GS and while trying to
remember too many facts, the basic clarity will be lost.

So, preparation should be made in such a way that in every area the basic understanding
is very clear. All the basic questions should be answered correctly in the exam. That is
sufficient to qualify for the mains.


The areas to be covered are the history from ancient to modern period. The basic
understanding can be obtained from below 10th NCERT books. The focus should be on
modern Indian history which is covered in the mains. The basic contours in other areas is
sufficient. Some cultural aspects should also be covered.

The NCERT books are good enough for the purpose.


The Constitution and various related aspects should be done well. Some articles and facts
should be memorised. It is better to prepare this area well since it will be helpful in mains
and inteview.
The Indian Polity by Laxmikant and NCERT books are sufficient. Also refer, DD Basu.


The basic concepts are being asked along with current affairs based questions. The basic
clarity can be obtained from the standard books. The current affairs can be studied from
Economic Survey and the newspapers.

Economic Survey

Dutt & Sundaram or Mishra & Puri or IC Dhingra


Some times the questions are asked very difficult that even science graduates cannot
answer. But the preparation should be in such a way that all the basic questions can be
done correctly. The questions are also asked in applications orientation.

NCERT books

What, Why & how books by CSIR.

Mental Ability:

Do lots of practise from previous years papers. The preparation can also be made from
some standard guide like the TMH Publications.The speed and accuracy should be

Current affairs:

This has become a very important component. The preparation should be continuous from
the sources given in mains strategy. The notes should be focused on the factual aspects
that come in the news. Many questions are asked from this area, so prepare thoroughly.
The efforts will be useful for all stages of the exam. It should become a part of your daily

General Knowledge

Quite a few questions are asked from this area. Some difficult questions are also asked.
Do not spend too much time in memorising unnecessary facts. You should have a broad
awareness about various fields. At the same time, focus more on areas which have been
asked in the past.

India Year Book - This is important for the prelims and also for some mains two mark
questions. But do not read every thing given in the book, be logical and concentrate on
the basics which can be asked in the exam. You should prepare notes on the various
terms that are given in the book. Do not focus too much on unnecessary facts given in the

Manaroma Year book - This book should also be taken as reference.

For the GS prelims, If you want a compilation of all material at one point then can refer
some standard guide like TMH. But do not ignore the NCERT and other books since they
give better clarity.